Raging Bull (1980)
Raging Bull (1980)
Raging Bull (1980)
Raging Bull (1980)
Raging Bull (1980)
Raging Bull (1980)

Film Studies

Cinema Classics Seminar:
Raging Bull

We Love Martin Scorsese
Wednesday, November 29, 2023, 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm  
Instructor: Amy Corbin, Ph.D., Muhlenberg College

Initially, Martin Scorsese did not want to make a movie about middleweight champion Jake LaMotta, finding the subject of boxing “boring,” but Robert De Niro’s strong interest brought him around. The resulting film is now considered one of the director’s best.

Raging Bull (1980) is not about boxing so much as an exploration of primal emotions, in which a poor boy from New York grasps at status through punishing violence yet never feels like he actually wins at life. In this seminar, we’ll explore the ways that Raging Bull connects to Scorsese’s oeuvre, particularly his interest in aggressive male protagonists, their relationships with other men, and Italian American culture.

Scorsese’s films force audiences to confront our fascination with violence, focusing on charismatic antiheroes and using virtuoso cinematography that tempts us to glamorize them. Here, Scorsese transforms the boxing scenes into beautiful dances using slow motion and crisp contrasts between dark and light. The film was also widely acclaimed for its innovative soundtrack, mixing classical and popular music, and juxtaposing multi-layered sound with silence, suggesting Jake’s disassociation with his surroundings. Join us as we unpack the enigmatic power of a film that defies classification as either a sports drama or a biography, but is instead a meditation on success, power, entertainment, and masculinity.

Are you interested in “just” seeing this movie? Visit the public screening page here.

Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. All students receive an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. In addition, those in attendance receive a ticket to see it on the big screen, as well as popcorn and a drink. Please note: the screening associated with this seminar will be open to the public, as well.

Please email BMFI Programs and Education Coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.


Course Information

$25 for members, $35 for non-members


  • Wednesday, November 29 · 6:30 pm